The village has Saxon origins and it is almost certain that one of their buildings stood on the present site of the church. By the time of Domesday (1087), one Roger de Belmont held it, although he, in turn, gave it to the nunnery at St. Leger de Preaux in Normandy, France. At the time this was a popular activity with wealthy French nobles. However during the wars with France, King Henry V confiscated the revenues from French-held properties, which included this village. A new church was built early in the C14, but the Bishop of Salisbury found it necessary to remind the villagers that they needed to have it properly consecrated!
The church is approached via a lych-gate and path protected on both sides by venerable old pollarded trees. The current building is essentially 1302, however like many churches, it has been altered from time to time as the congregation's fortunes ebbed and flowed. The lower stage of the tower is C15, further up is C18 and the embattled top has two C15 gargoyles. The porch is C19 with a C14 doorway (note the excellent boot scraper).
Certainly the most impressive feature of the interior is the superb richly carved C16 roof in the chancel, although the structure is actually C19. The rebuild was entirely paid for by a former incumbent, Rev. H.J. Slingsby. In the south wall there are small lancet windows, which may have been salvaged from the original church or possibly brought from another building. In 1703 a 'singing gallery' was installed at the west end, but was removed within living memory.
This is a very interesting church with a fascinating history and well worth visiting. Note there is an excellent guide to the church.
The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©
|St. Michaels & All Angel||Stour Provost||SP8 5RZ||0|
|St. Mary Magdalene||Fifehead Magdalen||SP8 5RT||1|
|Christchurch||East Stour||SP8 5LP||1|
|St. Andrew||Todber||DT10 1JD||1|
|St. Mary||West Stour||SP8 5RL||1|
|All Saints||Stour Row||SP7 0QW||2|
|All Saints||Kington Magna||SP8 5EG||2|
|St Gregory||Marnhull||DT10 1PZ||2|
|Margaret Marsh||Margaret Marsh||SP7 0AZ||3|
|St. John the Baptist||Buckhorn Weston||SP8 5HS||3|
|St Mary's||Gillingham||SP8 4UU||3|
|St. Peter||Hinton St. Mary||DT10 1NA||3|
|St Luke||West Orchard||SP7 0LJ||4|
|St. Thomas||East Orchard||SP7 0LJ||4|
|St. John Evangelist||Enmore Green||SP7 8QR||4|
|St. James||Shaftesbury||SP7 8HG||4|
|St Mary||Motcombe||SP7 9NT||4|
|St Mary||Stalbridge||DT10 2LR||4|
|St. Peter||Shaftesbury||SP7 8LY||4|
|St. Simon & St. Jude||Milton on Stour||SP8 5QD||4|